Photo by Jared
I was reading an article from the April 2001 issue of the Harvard Business review called Six Habits of Merely Effective Negotiators by James K. Sebenius when this paragraph caught my eye:
The story is told of the young Tip O’Neill, who later became the Speaker of the House, meeting an elderly constituent on the streets of his North Cambridge, Massachusetts, district. Surprised to learn that show was not planning to vote for him, O’Neill probed, “Haven’t you known me and my family all my life?” “Yes.” “Haven’t I cut your grass is summer and shoveled your walk in winter?” “Yes.” “Don’t you agree with all my policies and positions?” “Yes.” “Then why aren’t you going to vote for me?” “Because you didn’t ask me to.”
We tend to forget that so much in life is about perception. Each and every one of us sees life through very specific and very personal lenses. We can assume that we are doing everything for our teammates, employees, peers, and bosses. Heck, we might actually be doing everything. However, doing everything right is not enough. People are just more complicated than that. They are irrational. People are not thinking machines – they are feeling machines that think.
The real power of a manager lies in the simple things. A short talk here. An act of recognition there. The right question once a while. The trick is making it a habit, not an exception.